Despite torrential rains and flooding, the Henderson Board of Aldermen met on the evening of March 12 to discuss street and drainage improvements and to adopt changes to the speeding ordinance, among other matters.
The board also went into executive, or closed, session to discuss the ongoing annexation suit.
The board passed a resolution to adopt changes to the existing speeding law. In effect, the amendment changes only the title of “General Speed Law” to “Speeding,” and eliminates its designated fine of $112.
Although it was initially reported that speeding fines were being raised, the previously reported breakdown was already contained in the ordinance and there is no intended augmentation. According to town clerk Sue Henderson, the current fines have been in effect for more than eight years.
In addition to the reported rate, an additional $13 is collected and distributed among three state agencies, including law enforcement and the crime lab.
The general fund balance as of Feb. 29 was $839,856.35. The sales tax fund ended the month at $129,019.62, while the enterprise fund dropped to $36,263.41, mainly due to a bi-yearly installment of $34,892.32 to the Dept. Of Environmental Quality on a loan that helped to fund the construction of the sewer plant.
The book fairy fund was at $7,490.61 and the park fund at $1,903.92.
Ray Robin reported that prior to using Super RX bacteria on the waste process to diminish the amount of sludge, they were sending a container a month for disposal. Seven months later and they have yet to fill up a container. It was previously estimated that the town could save about $8,000 per year by using this process, but Alderman Jody Meche noted that the savings could be even higher.
Board members noted the large drop in the enterprise fund due to the loan payment, and a discussion ensued on recouping money for the fund. The town bought a second and larger container in the amount of $27,000 to dispose of the sludge. Since it is no longer needed and estimated to be worth about $25,000 on the current market, Robin will look into selling it. There was also discussion about selling a trailer the town bought, which is worth about $40,000. Mayor Sherbin Collette recommended holding onto the trailer for the moment pending the town government moving into a safer building.
Street Commissioner Don LeGrand reported that he received a letter from the state informing him that they will take care of cleaning out some culverts on Henderson Highway within the next few weeks. This should help with flooding. He warned that some might have to change out culverts, because they were not of a standard size.
LeGrand proposed that the Board consider hiring a full time crew to work Monday through Friday, instead of the current two days a week. He said they are currently behind in their work, and there was sufficient work to keep them busy, including trees to be cut, grass cutting and putting up signs. Collette said he would put together some figures for the next meeting, so they could further discuss the proposal.
LeGrand also informed the Board that they will start taking bids on April 3 at 10 a.m. at City Hall for work on Irma, Jack, Elizabeth, Numa White, Batiste and Louis Huval streets.
Attorney Jerry Mallet reported that no hearing date has been set on the annexation suit. He said he will get with Mike Hebert, the town’s attorney on the annexation suit, about filing an answer.